Carol of the Bells
It is impossible to talk about the Donnelly Family without talking about music, particularly a cappella vocal music. It has always been a dominant part of life in the Donnelly household. Mark began directing church choirs when still in his teens and continues to do so. When Catherine and Mark met at Thomas Aquinas College, the first topic of conversation was singing. Catherine sang in all the liturgical and special event choirs that Mark conducted at TAC. After they were married, she sang in his church choirs until a few years ago when the number of little ones needed more attention. By the time of Catherine's hiatus from choral singing, Sean and Colleen had several years of vocal experience, though both were not yet teenagers. Theresa, then nine years old, joined soon after. As it turned out, Colleen had a very beautiful soprano voice like her mother, Theresa a rich mezzo, and Sean had developed a "tenortone" voice like his dad (a tenor with some low notes). This was near perfect for a mixed vocal quartet. It allowed for us to do most of the repertoire on our own that we did with the church choir. Since the Donnellys attend the Latin Mass, the predominant repertoire is Gregorian Chant and 16th Century Polyphony, particularly that of Palestrina (1525-94). This music is done primarily without instrumental accompaniment, so the three youngsters developed good pitch and sight-reading skills. We started to develop a repertoire of our own. In 2005, the Donnelly Family Quartet began receiving requests to sing at various events, primarily during the Christmas season. When the Okanagan Festival Singers asked them to sing as featured performers for their 2007 Christmas Concert, we decided to take things somewhat seriously. A year and a half later, through the encouragement of Albert Landry, we recorded this CD in one of the hottest summers on record for Vancouver. (The rest of the continent was experiencing one of the coolest!) Many of the arrangements were written and rehearsed in the only cool place in the house, the ice rink in the basement. (Okay, it's plastic ice, but you can still skate on it with ice skates.) The rest of the family had to put up with hearing "Jingle Bells" when it was tough to keep the ice cubes frozen in the freezer! Anyway, with the patience of Pat (or should we say 'Job'), our co-producer, it got done. It is impossible to mention all those who were instrumental in this CD becoming a reality. Two in particular we have to mention: Wayne for the charming and fun cover, and Caitlin for the layout and composition of the artwork. We also have to give hugs and kisses to Grandma and Auntie Mo-Mo for their enduring support. To the rest, all we can say is: Thank you from the bottoms of our hearts, and we hope you enjoy it. Merry Christmas and may God bless you all! The Donnelly Family PS - With Sean off playing hockey, Colleen going to college next year, and Theresa not far behind, we're going to need some replacements. Lawrence has already joined Chorus Faustinae. That means: Francis, Allanna, Joseph, Mary-Kate, and Gregory, it's your turn soon!